Molefe Seeletsa
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
25 Sep 2020
11:45 am

Zwane tells Zondo that R1bn Free State housing project was ‘not an open tender system’

Molefe Seeletsa

Zwane admitted that the new database used was not an open tender system, claiming that it was requested by ExCo, which was chaired by former Free State premier Ace Magashule.

Acting Chief Justice and chair of the state capture commission Raymond Zondo. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency

Former Free State human settlements MEC Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane appeared before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday over the R1-billion housing project in the province.

This comes after two witnesses claimed this week that Zwane had devised an unlawful 2010-2011 housing scheme in the Free State, while still he was MEC.

Other allegations levelled up against Zwane include the Vrede Dairy Project and Tegeta’s acquisition of Optimum.

With Advocate Paul Pretorius leading the evidence on Friday, Zwane told the commission that he did receive reports relating to the housing project, and said he only received one report, which was the final report.

On the tender process, Zwane revealed that he approved a newly created database in 2010 regarding the selection of the contractors involved in the housing project, however he disputed that he had control over the process.

Zwane admitted that the new database was not an open tender system and said the database was requested by ExCo, which was chaired by African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Ace Magashule, who is the former Free State premier.

The former MEC said he was misinformed by officials in the provincial government over using a previous database as the basis for the new database after a low-cost housing tender process had closed.

“A tender process was opened and later abandoned because of the deadline and other things. Note that it was not caused by me,” Zwane said.

He continued to say that he had presented a way forward to officials.

“I did not ask a database from nowhere. The issue was brought to me,” he added.

Despite the establishment of the database being unlawful, Zwane argued that he had thought that the process was legal at the time.

“I was told the new database was in line with the new Housing Act. I did not see anything illegal about the process as I followed what the head of department (HOD) Mpho Mokoena told me because he had been in the department for a while  and no one has challenged this process before.,” he said.

Zwane claimed that the officials were to “blame” after they allegedly included disqualified contractors on the database.

He agreed with Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that ExCo must have known that an open tender process should have been initiated for the housing project.

The commission has currently been adjourned for a tea break. Follow the live proceedings below:

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